What is the Ancient World Digital Library?

The Ancient World Digital Library (AWDL) is an initiative of the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (ISAW) at New York University. AWDL is a publicly available digital library of public domain content on the ancient world. AWDL currently provides digital access to over 400 volumes across subjects such as Egyptology, Assyriology, Papyrology, and Classical Antiquity. Visit the Collections Overview page for a list of subjects.

What is the purpose of the project?

AWDL identifies, collects, curates, preserves, and provides access to a broad range of scholarly materials relevant to the study of the ancient world. We are particularly interested in providing a digital platform for small presses, scholarly societies, and other independent publishers that are interested in digitizing and publishing their scholarship online for a wider scholarly audience. AWDL serves anyone interested in scholarship on the ancient world. Our target audience includes academic researchers, students, librarians, and the interested public.

Which institutions are involved in the project?

The scholarly works in the Ancient World Digital Library are provided by our partners, who are committed to making quality scholarship about the ancient world broadly available to the public. The Institute for the Study of the Ancient World would like to thank the following organizations in particular for their generous support:

  • American Philosophical Society
  • American Society of Papyrologists
  • Association Égyptologique Reine Élisabeth
  • Brill
  • Epigraphica Bruxellensia
  • Georgian National Museum
  • Harrassowitz Verlag
  • ISLET Verlag
  • Journal of Inner Asian Art and Archaeology (formerly the Circle of Inner Asian Art)
  • Stephen Chan Library at The Institute for Fine Arts, New York University

If you or your organization is interested in partnering with or contributing to the Ancient World Digital Library, please email David M. Ratzan (david.ratzan@nyu.edu), Head of the Library of the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World.

What are the standards used for digitization?

In order to be as flexible as possible, AWDL supports multiple standards, depending on the nature of the work. If you have questions about standards, file formats or other technical aspects, please inquire at ISAW-library@nyu.edu with “AWDL” in the subject line.

How are items selected for digitization?

AWDL’s digitization efforts are focused on materials that fit the following criteria:

  • Scope: Items within the collecting scope of the ISAW Library, as described in our collection guidelines.
  • Rights: Items for which we can identify the rightsholder (either individual or institutional) and negotiate permissions for online publication.
  • Access and availability: Items that are not freely available through other digital library projects.

What are AWDL’s copyright guidelines?

NYU has researched copyright requirements and restrictions for each of the countries of publication and believes the materials displayed on this site have been cleared by the rightsholder, are specified in the rights statement attached to each work, or are in the public domain. However, if you believe that you are the copyright owner of any material displayed here, please see our takedown policy.

Is AWDL metadata available?

Metadata records for AWDL content are published periodically for the public at: https://github.com/NYULibraries/kbart-metadata

Have more questions?

For more information, please contact us at: ISAW-Library@nyu.edu with “AWDL” in the subject line.

Project Team

  • Laura Henze (DLTS)
  • Carol Kassel (DLTS)
  • Gabriel McKee (ISAW)
  • Alberto Ortiz Flores (DLTS)
  • Ekaterina Pechekhonova (DLTS)
  • Rasan Rasch (DLTS)
  • David M. Ratzan (ISAW)
  • Michael Stasiak (DLTS)

Special thanks to past project members

  • Melitte Buchman (DLTS) 2010-2017
  • Dawn Gross (ISAW) 2010-2014
  • Charles Jones (ISAW) 2010-2014
  • Jasmine Smith (ISAW) 2019-2022
  • Eric Stedfeld (DLTS) 2015-2021